tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN September 3, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
serious, sometimes fatal crises can occur. the most common side effect is bone and muscle ache. so why go back there? if you'd rather be home, ask your doctor about neulasta onpro. hello again, everyone, thanks for joining me this sunday. i am fredricka whitfield. minutes ago, the white house delivered a stern and somber message to north korea, hours after the regime announced they successfully detonated a powerful hydrogen bomb and more ominously that it could be placed on a missile. here is defense secretary james mattis and the entire statement. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. we had a small group national security meeting today with the president and the vice president about the latest provocation on
the korean peninsula. we have many military options and the president wanted to be briefed on each one of them. we made clear that we have the ability to defend ourselves and our allies, south korea and japan, from any attack, and our commitments among the allies are ironclad. any threat to the united states or its territories, including guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, response both effective and overwhelming. kim jong-un should take heed, the united nations security council's unified voice, all members unanimously agreed on the threat north korea poses and they remain unanimous in commitment to the denuclearization of the korean peninsula because we are not looking to the total annihilation of a country,
namely north korea, but as i said we have many options to do so. thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. >> i want to bring in cnn's pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, the significance of this statement, coming from the secretary of defense. >> well, look at that, those images, fred. that's defense secretary james mattis standing at his side, general joseph dunford, four star chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. general dunford is president trump's chief military adviser. no washington politics in this one visible. this is a military message. there's politics behind all of it, of course, but the optics here are this is mattis and dunford, it is not politicians in the administration delivering the message. very interesting couple of points here. every word would have been carefully crafted, but secretary mattis said any threat by north korea to the u.s. or allies
would be met with massive military response. north korea is already a threat. it is interesting why he didn't say any attack. he may not have wanted to put that word out there. he also was very specific in saying the u.s. was not looking for the total annihilation of north korea but make no mistake, what the u.s. is looking for is for kim jong-un to change his ways and to convince him he will be annihilated going back to the first point if he threatens or attacks the u.s. or its allies, that the u.s. does have the military options to get him out of power, basically to annihilate him and his regime. whether those are practical, whether they can really be used without massive civilian casualties in south korea, without provoking more global conflict in that region remains to be seen, but it was a stern message at least for today. >> it was.
barbara starr, we'll see you soon. let's go to the korean peninsula where we have paula hancock joining us from seoul, south korea. the defense secretary issuing a strong message to north korea. how much relief does this come to south koreans? >> reporter: well, fredricka, certainly the fact that secretary mattis spoke about the threat to the u.s. and its allies, the fact that the alliances with the allies are ironclad, this is something that south korea can never hear enough of, especially when you consider what they've been hearing earlier today from the u.s. president donald trump saying that south korea, he said in a tweet that south korea has been told by him that appeasement was his words is not going to work. this sparked calling to find out what the response was to the tweet, they wanted to point out
that south korea and the u.s. agree on sanctions, they agree the pressure and sanctions are the best way to get north korea back to the negotiating table. so saying that korea is a country that has experienced war, we can't let this experience be repeated again on this land. we will pursue the denuclearization of korean peninsula through peace with allies. he has been consistent in saying there will not be a second korean war, at all costs avoid military action on the korean peninsula, and also called what north korea has done a strategic mistake. let's listen to his security adviser. >> translator: north korea ignored repeated warnings from us in the international society and conducted a stronger nuclear test. with the continued provocation of icbm launch, the president moves forward the most powerful response to condemn north korea, along with international society and decided to seek diplomatic
measures such as pushing ahead for resolution to completely isolate north korea. >> we know that general dunford twice sunday had a phone call with south korean countser part, discussing what to do about north korea, according to south korean statement, decided there should be some kind of combined military measure as early as possible, that is could be a show of force. we have seen bombers flying over the peninsula, just last week, seen a bombing drill from south korean forces, so it will be interesting to see what kind of military measure they believe they could carry out. fredricka? >> paula hancock, thank you so much. let's discuss this now with cnn military analyst colonel steve warren and back with me, cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. so colonel warren, what about the language being used by mattis very carefully, in one context he did use the word attack, but he was talking about the u.s. defending ourselves and
allies, south korea and japan, from attack, then later on is careful to use the word threat. >> sure. the word threat, you know, in military world can be interpreted a lot of different ways. we can use it in several different ways. it can be simply words, someone else threatening the united states or our allies, can be a threat. also if we see something more kinetic, see bombs or troops massing or things like this, that also is a threat. i think the secretary of defense was deliberately a little ambiguous there, right, it creates a little bit of uncertainty in the minds of our opponent in this case, the north koreans. but at the same time, trying to dial it back far enough so that we prevent miscalculation. >> colonel, it was a very short statement, he was very judicious about his words and language, wasn't just a message to north
korea, it clearly was a message to allies as well. how important was it for secretary mattis to say that we will -- that we are not looking foray n for annihilation of a country, namely north korea. >> key that he mentioned allies and partners, key and critical that he underlined the fact that we are not interested in the annihilation of north korea, so he really balanced both things. the assurance of our allies and a message to the north korean regime yet also the north korean people, whether or not they hear it remains to be seen, they probably won't, but the message to the north korean people is that we are not looking to wipe out north korea. it's the leadership and this nuclear threat that we have our eye on. >> and barbara, earlier president trump has been tweeting, he seemed to escalate rhetoric against our ally, south
korea saying i have told them talk of appeasement with north korea will not work, they only understand one thing. then coming out of church in washington, d.c., this is the president when asked about the issue. >> mr. president, will you attack north korea? >> so these varying messages, whether it be by tweet or we'll see, then you have a very sobering message coming from the secretary of defense. is it that last word, is it that message from the sec def. >> i think many people may find themselves trying to puzzle out exactly what the president was referring to, when he says we'll see, you can't really expect a president to say no, i'm not going to attack, yes, i am going to attack, no president would do that publicly. i think what you are seeing from
mattis is an effort as steve warren just said to dial it back, not let the rhetoric get out of hand, right now, be very firm, very much in tone of warning the regime that there are u.s. military options, even if many people wonder if they're practical or not, at least the trump administration is trying to send the message that there are viable military options. if kim hears that, the hope is he might change. i think that might be a very long stretch, we could be a long way away from kim jong-un changing his mind about anything. >> colonel warren, he seemed to needle china, saying north korea is a rogue nation that's become a great threat and embarrassment to china which is trying to help but with little success. is there a concern that china could be losing its influence or that distance is being created between china and the u.s.? >> i think your point is spot
on. i believe that the chinese have over time lost some influence with the north koreans, and perhaps can gain some of it back, but probably not. the north koreans have shown they're willing to withstand tremendous hardship in the pursuit of the weapons and military posture that they want, and we have seen that for the last two decades. their willingness to withstand internal hardships so that they can keep the military strong. >> and listen to what the treasury secretary said regarding new sanctions on north korea. >> we're going to strongly consider everything at this point and again, i will draft a package for his strong consideration that would go as far as cutting off all trade or other business. and this behavior is unacceptable and if countries want to do business with the united states, they obviously will be working with our allies
and others to cut off north korea economically. >> all right. i'm going to ask you both that. barbara, you mentioned earlier military leaders are fairly reticent to brag about or boast about military options, yes, they are there. is it their hope potentially that sanctions would be more effective? >> well, if you put sanctions under the sort of label of diplomacy, yes. secretary of state rex tillerson, defense secretary mattis, general dunford for months now have been saying that they want to see the diplomatic option work, that they do not believe we're out of time for diplomacy, i would put economic and financial measures under that. they are very much on that page. others are more expert than me, but the military option seems to be potentially disastrous for south korea, to say the least. >> colonel warren? >> yeah. what's needed here, fredricka,
as barb pointed out, is state craft, bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together, military, economic, diplomatic, other means to bring to the table to formulate long term strategy that will help us get out of this crisis because make no mistake, there is a crisis right now. >> colonel steve warren, barbara starr, thanks to both of you. appreciate it. all right. coming up, 36,000 and counting have been rescued by federal responders from hurricane harvey's devastating flood waters. details on the city's rebuilding efforts and its road to recovery. when you look at the number of homes mowed down and destroyed and damaged, this is going to be a huge catastrophe. it will take years to overcome this challenge. no splashing! wait so you got rid of verizon, just like that? uh-huh.
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all right. it has been just over a week since hurricane harvey slammed the texas gulf coast. millions in donations poured in since last weekend. the houston texans raising more than $18 million. earlier i spoke to attorney kenneth fineburg that worked with katrina victims. here's what he says the donated money could be used for. >> that money that was donated privately, they've got to sit down and decide what exactly do they want to do with that money. for example, that money may help those that lost loved ones, those who are physically injured. some of that money may go to help alleviate financial burden of the families who survive. >> there is a great need there and so many parts of south texas. want to bring in our reporters on the ground, stephanie eel a.m. is in houston, miguel marquez is in beaumont.
stephanie, let me go to you first. lots of mounds of trash, people taking that stuff out of their homes. but that doesn't mean problems are over. >> not at all. there's so much work here. in fact, while you look here, looks like a lot of drywall in front of me, a lot of it is people's best possessions, favorite things, things they cared about when the water surprised them, from what i understand talking to people that live here. three feet of water entered their homes, they left in a hurry. you can see what happened. a lot of people made it back in here wednesday. since then, you see work going on, emptying out homes, pulling out drywall, trying to get drywall to dry. people are like we have nowhere to go, one family just remodeled the kitchen in june. and now you look at what we have out here. one of the issues they're dealing with is how long will it take for them to get in touch with fema, for them to come look
at the homes to begin the work of rebuilding the homes and putting up new drywall, all of that that it takes. this is just the beginning step of it. for some people out here, their families live in this community, all their homes are effected, they're having to do work in their homes, they go help grandma, go help the parents and all of that. still when you look at this, this all has to be removed. some of it removed by dump trucks. if you look up and down the street where i am, this is the picture, this is what it looks like. >> it is a big job. we're just at the beginning stages, really infantile stages. migel, let's check with you, you're in beaumont. water services are in the process of being restored in some parts, you have been driving around the city, people are out and trying to rebuild as well? >> reporter: they are trying to put their lives back together but it's going to be a long time. this is the naches river. listen to this.
rapids, beginning to drain away. this is the point now. 24 hours ago, just heard an explosion in the distance, i believe that was the i-10, there was a bridge engineers were trying to get rid of, they were demoing that now i think. this is an industrial area in beaumont. you can get a sense of just how much water there is. 24 hours ago, this river crested just here. now it is all the way down there, it has a long way to go, the areas around beaumont are even harder hit. that water is just sitting. you can't get to places like pine wood estate or saddle lakes around beaumont. people are coming together. it is sunday, they're going to church, they're getting together, they're helping each other in the city. we saw a couple of local restaurants that shut their doors for several days and served thousands and thousands of meals and delivered them to
evacuees. >> when people get a hot meal that's made, what is the reaction? >> i mean joy, just fuel, it is just needed, it is a sign of relief. >> when i saw what was happening, i even tried to evacuate, i tried to get out. it was like god plucked me up, said go back to your community and start organizing. >> now, as for the water in beaumont, it is sort of sputtering back to life, like the city itself, sputtering out of faucets here. they're able to get some water back for the city, but they believe it will be at least before the naches river goes down more before they get to the pumps, get them fixed and restore full water to the city. fred? >> so much to do. thank you so much. miguel marquez and stephanie elam. we will be right back.
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welcome back. cnn is getting an exclusive look at president obama's advice to incoming president trump on the eve of his inauguration. this is never before seen photographs of the outgoing commander in chief. a handwritten letter for donald trump in the oval office desk there. in part, the note reading first, we both have been blessed in different ways with great good
fortune. not everyone is so lucky. it's up to us to do everything we can to build more ladders of success for every child and family that's willing to work hard. second, american leadership in this world really is indispensable. it's up to us through action and example to sustain the international order that's expanded steadily since the end of the cold war and upon which our wealth and safety depend. third, we are just temporary occupants of this office, makes us guardians of those kmings democratic institutions and traditions like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and several liberties that our forebearers fought for. regardless of push and pull of daily politics, it is up to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them. let's discuss this with a cnn political analyst and historian and professor at princeton. good to see you again. let me get your thoughts on the tone and substance of this letter. >> it's a very pointed letter as these letters go.
usually the letters we've seen say that you'll be criticized very often and stick to your principles, but in this letter president obama is telling the new president a set of principles that he needs to adhere to, to still care basically for people who don't have the same good fortune as donald trump did, now president trump. he also is saying to respect international alliances, which is a key part of trump's campaign i think the most important warning, this is a democratic institution, at some point you will no longer hold this office and you have to remember that. >> and talk about the timeliness of the letter as trump is dealing with not only a growing crisis in north korea but unfolding natural disaster with harvey, and difficult decision what to do with undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children.
does it appear that president trump is using that letter in any way as a guide post as he embarks on these very big decisions? >> i think his critics will probably say that president obama really saw what was coming, but president trump didn't listen. many of the warnings i think have not been followed. obviously international connections have been strained under this president. we're going to see how much he relies on those to combat the threat in north korea. certainly critics will say he stretched presidential powers in ways that contradict the basic warning that president obama was trying to make, and that's at the heart of the investigations that are going on. >> don't you recall that when president trump read obama's letter, he had this reaction. >> i just went to the oval office, found this beautiful
letter from president obama. it was really very nice of him to do that, and we will cherish that, we will keep that, and we won't even tell the press what's in that letter. so now we learned 41 days after saying that, calling it a beautiful letter, president trump sent out this tweet, baseless accusations on are the part of president trump on march 4th. terrible, found out obama had my wires tapped before the victory, nothing found, this is mccarthyism. and tweeting how low has president obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. this is nixon watergate. bad or sick guy. the justice department found zero evidence that president obama ever wire tapped trump tower as president trump claimed, tweets and other ways.
in filing release last night, doj writing this. i am quoting. both fbi and nfd confirm they have no records related to wire taps as described by the march 4th, 2017 tweets. julian, will or should president trump face any repercussions for making false accusations? >> i don't think that he will, but there should be some political repercussions. that was really a bold accusation to make about the former president. it was never based on credible evidence. people have been saying this from the start. this gets to the heart in some ways of the warnings former president obama was trying to make, to be careful, to show restraint about the office. and the relationship between president trump and former president obama has been really strained and i think president trump could learn a lot from the last person that held this job and that would be a good exercise. this moment with the letter,
with the justice department report, to try to take a different approach to listening to the wisdom and counsel of a former president. >> we'll leave it there. thanks so much. all right. still so much more ahead. first, meet this week's cnn hero, sergeant andy manzi suffered from ptsd and now helps others rebound from war through surfing. >> when i got home, i really didn't have any urge to be around any veteran. i pushed myself so far away from it, then i started surfing and teaching how to surf. we're going to arch our back, you want to try to be center on the board. started meeting veterans in the water. out there it's different, we're also focusing on the present and the future. >> to learn more about this cnn hero or nominate someone, visit cnnheroes.com. oh, you brought butch.
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president trump is expected to make a decision on daca tuesday, the program for protections of so-called dreamers, those undocumented immigrants brought to the u.s. as children by their parents. leaders in the gop are stepping up and voicing support for daca. jeff flake told cnn he hopes the president will decide to protect dreamers and not punish them. >> obviously you hope that presidents keep some of their campaign promises and hope they ignore others. this is one that he ought to ignore. there are 800,000 daca kids, kids who were brought across the border, median age i think is six years old for those 800,000
when they came across the border. they should not be punished for the sins of their parents, that's just the basic principle we ought to follow here. >> joining me now to discuss this is hector val darez, attorney for mexico. do you believe the president should continue the daca program? >> thank you for having me. i agreed with the president when he said these are incredible kids. i'm hopeful the president will do the american thing and really protect these dreamers. i believe they're vital to our community, our national security and the strength of our economy. >> what happens if the president ends this protection, what would the legal avenues for the young people be? >> well, we have a rich history in this country where we not only pursue rule of law but justice. there are many attorneys general across this country that will defend dreamers.
i am hopeful this doesn't turn into protracted legal fight. i want the president to do the right thing, protect these individuals. they came here as young people. they are americans in culture. they are allegiant to this country. and i'm hopeful but yet very concerned that we do everything we can to protect dreamers. >> what will the impacts be in states like new mexico if indeed the president ends daca? >> it would be catastrophic. first the dreamers came here as young children. they are law abiding, have done background checks. they comply with homeland security and also participate and cooperate with local law enforcement, so this would be a public safety catastrophe. more importantly, these dreamers are teachers, they're in the military, they're law enforcement. they are first responders today helping out other americans in houston flooding, so it would be
a catastrophic setback for public safety, national security, and i believe it would be a black eye for this country. >> you mention flooding, harvey and harris county alone, the county of houston, something like 65,000 daca young people. with that in mind, do you believe the president's sensitivities about daca may have been in any way influenced by what has happened, the devastation in south texas and whether in any way it might influence his decision making on tuesday? >> well, i believe in this country, i remain optimistic that the president hopefully will lead not only with his head but with his heart as he has stated. he has said these were incredible kids but truth of the matter is now these dreamers are great americans and they just simply lack the opportunity for citizenship. they're doing everything they
can to comply. it would be catastrophic to send them back to countries they no longer associate or don't know as they've grown up in this country. >> new mexico attorney general, hector balance der as. thank you for your time. up next, are you on drugs? that's what white house special counsel ty cobb asked a journalist when digging for details on jim comey's firing. we'll talk to that reporter about the testy exchange after the break.
welcome back. a draft of president trump's letter detailing his reasons for firing fbi director james comey is now in the hands of special counsel robert mueller, and in one reporter's pursuit to learn more about the draft letter and the investigation, a lengthy e-mail exchange came between that reporter and white house special counsel ty cobb, and the political reporter from "business insider." there's ty cobb right there. so apparently through this e-mail exchange, ty cobb asked the journalist are you on drugs and then criticized the press of being, quote, rabid about the entire story. the reporter joins me now. so natasha, walk us through what happened. you had already established ty
cobb as a source and you were having a conversation about just trying to flush out this draft letter. and the investigation, and then what happened? >> right, so essentially what happened, i wrote an article about how don mcgone's role in this, essentially recommending trump not send this letter directly to fbi director james comey would potentially hurt donald trump if it came to the point where mcgann would be required to come before a federal grand jury and testify. the reason he decided to block trump from sending that letter. then the lawyer wrote ty cobb wrote me an e-mail saying he made interesting points, he said there was little or no push back to this letter and that trump actually wrote the letter right after lit ening to james comey's testimony on may 3rd. that raised interesting
questions as well. that would then indicate he was -- he wrote the letter and made the decision to terminate james comey's tenure at the fbi before rod rosenstein and jeff sessions wrote their own memo on why comey was unfit to lead. i asked if that letter was not problematic, why didn't the white house decide to send to james comey directly, why did they instead send to the doj. his response was are you on drugs. have you read anything else about this. he would not then explain what he thought was inaccurate about my reporting and would not answer my questions any further. >> first he had a rather, you know, matter of fact, eloquent statement to you about the whole issue, and that it had been revealed, but then the conversation became a bit more co combative, or perhaps he was
irritated, calling the press rabid, saying to you are you on drugs. so this came in the form of an e-mail, then you took it further and it became part of your reporting and you even tweeted it out. what compelled you to do that? >> well, the interesting thing about ty cobb is he was hired by the president earlier in the summer to serve as for lack of a better word the adult in the room. he is known as a buttoned up, very professional lawyer, very good reputation in washington, d.c. so when he came on, the fact that he was so professional and that he, you know, really wasn't going to let his mouth run as mark kasowitz did in an e-mail that got him in trouble earlier in the summer, that was supposed to differentiate him from the rest. the fact he sent an e-mail asking me if i'm on drugs, being overall just testy about the entire thing surprised me, i thought it would surprise others that people are reacting this way to journalists' basic
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don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california and do your thing. thousands have been impacted by hurricane harvey. while dramatic rescues unfold on television, the farmland was conducting its own rescues. texas leads the u.s. in cattle production and as farmers begin to assess damage, they fear harvey's impact will take a toll on their livelihoods. polo sandoval has the story. >> reporter: water hasn't stopped bubbling through the soggy road that leads to the v8
ranch. it is home to brandon and his family. >> this spot is in the middle of the rivers, so flooding from both those effected our ranch. >> reporter: 6,000 acre property, sits an hour's drive west of houston. >> venture to say close to three quarters totalled, under water. >> reporter: like so many southeast texas ranches, v8 took a heavy hit from harvey. >> hit hard and fast. >> reporter: last week, water rose quickly, trapping some of the cattle that led to this rescue effort captured on cell phone video. >> pray for us until we get these cattle out of here, they're doing pretty good. >> officials had their hands busy in the city, you had rescues of your own to do. >> that's right. those were just trying to save our livelihood, not only ours but our neighbors'. >> reporter: seven generations
have been on the v8, none of them faced a flood of this magnitude. >> we were expecting when we put boats in the water to look for things, we wouldn't find them, if we did, they would be upside down, hung up in a fence dead. >> reporter: neighbors accept ralted by acres of rolling ranch land came together following harvey, many cases leading each other's herds to higher ground. >> we have over 2,000 head. >> how many did you lose? >> that we know of, one. some lost their entire herd. >> we saw many ranches in similar situation, water continues to flood properties or left them uninhabitable for cattle. even after the flood waters begin to recede, many of these won't be able to be used for grazing. all this flood water left behind nasty sentiment. >> the grass has a brown tint to it from the mud and silt that was in the flood water. it is coated on there, cows
don't like it. >> they may rinse off the ones sprawling pastures. until that happens, ranchers count on winter hay reserves and each other. >> y'all take care. >> reporter: harvey's havoc may have been overwhelming, it is no match against this texas rancher's will to survive. >> quitting is not an option. you've got to feed your family. >> polo sandoval, thank you for that from texas. tomorrow night, cnn is airing a documentary on president ronald reagan called "the reagan show." here's a sneak peek. >> good evening, this is ronald reagan, president of the united states of america. got history books there? i don't think so. i am pleased to speak to you on the occasion of -- >> are you okay? >> good evening. this is ronald reagan. president of the united states of america. i'm pleased to speak to you on the occasion of the new year. on behalf of the american
people, i wish you all a happy and healthy new year. let's work together to make it a year of peace. there is no better goal for 1986 or for any year. let us look forward to a future of [ speaking foreign language ] for all mankind. thank you. >> you say it better than i do, sounds like you had a t in it. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the lighter side, behind the scenes of what it is to be ronald reagan. "the reagan show" tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. i am fredricka whitfield. thank you for being with me this sunday. the next year with ana navarro starts now.
top of the hour, i am ana navarro, thank you for joining me. we begin with north korea's most powerful test ever, and fresh, direct warning from the u.s. to the kim jong-un regime. north korea claims it detonated an advanced hydrogen bomb that's missile ready. it is the country's sixth test of a nuclear weapon and the first since president trump took office. defense secretary james mattis didn't mince words during a statement outside the white house, he warned any north korean threat to the u.s. or its allies will be met with, quote, massive military response. watch. >> we had a small group national security meeting today with the president and the vice president about the latest provocation on the korean peninsula. we have many military options